Mingyur Rinpoche’s aspiration is to make the profound study and practice traditions of the Tergar Lineage accessible to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists, including those with busy modern lifestyles, so that the teachings can benefit as many people as possible. Through years of exploration and refinement, he developed a model of meditation training that consists of three tracks:
- The Joy of Living: Universally accessible courses in meditation, intended for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike, that address three forms of practice: awareness meditation, loving-kindness and compassion meditation, and insight meditation.
- The Path of Liberation: The Path of Liberation builds on the foundational teachings of the Joy of Living, presenting a series of meditation techniques designed to strip away the causes of suffering and uncover the radiant awareness that underlies all experience. This course of practice and study, based on the ancient Buddhist teachings of Tibet, addresses the fundamental confusion that lies at the root of all suffering.
- The Exploring Buddhism program: Tergar’s Exploring Buddhism program is a multi-year program that covers the Three Vehicles of Buddhism: the Foundational Vehicle, the Great Vehicle, and the Vajra Vehicle. These teachings address the full spectrum of Buddhist thought and practice, starting with teachings on the Four Noble Truths and interdependence and leading up to the philosophy of Buddhist Tantra.
To support the global community of students and practitioners who are following these tracks, Tergar has expanded beyond its roots in Tibet, Nepal, and India to develop centers and local practice groups around the world, all under the guidance of Mingyur Rinpoche, with the support of Tergar lamas, instructors, and local group leaders.
Tergar also continues to provide traditional monastic education for Tibetan monks and nuns, both in Tibet and in exile in Nepal and India. These Tibetan-oriented monasteries continue to function as autonomous branches of the Palpung Monastic system, following the guidance of both Tai Situ Rinpoche and the Gyalwang Karmapa, with the distinguishing feature of Mingyur Rinpoche’s unique lineage of spiritual teachings.
In the early 1990s, the current Mingyur Rinpoche traveled to Tibet and made his first visit to Tergar Monastery in Kham, where an enthronement ceremony was performed to recognize him (echoing his first enthronement ceremony in India in 1988). He then raised funds abroad to renovate the shrine room at Tergar Monastery, improving the conditions for its 260 monks and 100 nuns.
In 1999, Tai Situ Rinpoche asked Mingyur Rinpoche to build a new monastery in Bodhgaya and in 2000 he gave a suitable parcel of land to Mingyur Rinpoche for that purpose. Construction of Pal Tergar Rigdzin Khacho Shedrup Targye Ling was completed in 2006, and by 2010 around 300 monks from India, Nepal, and Tibet had come to study there. In keeping with the Tergar lineage’s emphasis on practice, even the youngest monks at the Bodhgaya monastery practice meditation daily. The traditional Buddhist curriculum has been modernized to include basic science and other conventional academic subjects. Tergar Bodhgaya also hosts the annual visits of the Gyalwang Karmapa during the Kagyu Monlam festival held every winter at the Mahabodhi Stupa in Bodhgaya.
Monastic education requires both study and practice, and as the Tergar monastery in Bodhgaya is geared mostly toward practice and not optimized for higher academic studies, Mingyur Rinpoche wished to establish a shedra (monastic college). His brother, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, generously offered him Ösel Ling, a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, for that purpose. Mingyur Rinpoche made several improvements to Ösel Ling and in 2010 it was reopened as Pal Tergar Ngedon Lungrik Osel Targye Ling. Around 80 students are currently enrolled in the shedra. Mingyur Rinpoche is planning to develop a program of academic studies and meditation for international students as well.
All of Tergar’s activities share the same goal: to help all sentient beings discover lasting happiness and freedom from suffering.